If you have ever felt confused when your child has asked for help with partitioning numbers in KS2 maths, then this is the guide for you.
Partitioning numbers is a mathematical method for working out maths problems that include large numbers (two-digit numbers or higher), and it has been designed as an alternative to the column method. This makes it easier to complete the problem by splitting the larger values into smaller units. Read on to understand how partitioning works, when your child should use it and how to help teach this method.
What is Partitioning?
Partitioning involves breaking large numbers into smaller more user-friendly units before performing the addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. An example of partitioning can be shown using the following sum: 89 + 37 = 126
Children are encouraged to partition each of these numbers into smaller, easy-to-handle numbers: 80 + 9 + 30 + 7
And then to group them in a way that makes it easier to complete the sum: (80 + 30 = 110) + (9 + 7 = 16) = 126
You can partition numbers for multiplication using the same method, simply split the large number into smaller units, and multiply both parts before adding them back together again. For example: 89 x 7 = 623
When partitioned, this sum becomes (80 x 7) + (9 x 7) = 560 + 63 = 623
Teaching maths in this way offers children different ways to visualise the problem, making it easier to do mental arithmetic with larger numbers. Children learn this maths method during Key Stage 1, where they are encouraged to break a two-digit number into tens and ones. Children in Key Stage 2 will then break down bigger units, turning three-digit numbers into hundreds, tens and ones - at this point, pupils must have a good understanding of place value, which is the value of each digit within a number (i.e. in 597, the 5 stands for 500, the 9 stands for 90).
Place Value Games
There are lots of free resources online, including a huge range of games with place value lessons at their core. Playing a place value game is a great way to get children to practice this core maths technique, as well as being an opportunity for further teaching at home. Simply search 'games for place value' and choose from one of the many online resources!
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